Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Be Alone

I wish I could have created something this beautiful.  I've written a bit about being alone before but this video/poem captures everything perfectly.

HOW TO BE ALONE by Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you've not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it, then just wait. You'll find it's fine to be alone once you're embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You're not supposed to talk much anyway so it's safe there.

There's also the gym. If you're shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in (guitar stroke).

And there's public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there's prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you're hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously (electric guitar plucking) based on your avoid being alone principals.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they -- like you -- will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You're no less intriguing a person when you're eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one's watching...because, they're probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you're sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life's best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.
Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there're always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might've never happened had you not been there by yourself

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one's in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school's groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you're happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It's okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can't think like you, for this be releived, keeps things interesting lifes magic things in reach.

And it doesn't mean you're not connected, that communitie's not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn't get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don't obsess about it.

you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bicycle Shopping (or how to get a friend to buy a bike)

The formula for the perfect number of bicycles to own is N+1, where N represents the number of bicycles you currently have.

I already find myself a slave to this formula and have purchased three bicycles since I’ve been here! Un/fortunately, the first one was stolen so I have two currently, my Shelby and Rose. Even though I purchased Rose at the first of October and still haven’t suited her up, I find myself browsing Craigslist daily for coveted bicycles. Maybe I need a Dutch style loop frame city bike! Or perhaps I’ll find that perfect Brooks saddle. $70 for four lights, a cable lock and a multitool? OK! Ooh, what’s that, a vintage Raleigh Lady’s Sports? Is that my size?

Thankfully, I’m pledging to dress up Rose before I buy another bicycle, and that is taking some time. To still indulge in my browsing addiction, I began to slowly and methodically convince my co-worker and dear friend that she needed a vintage bicycle.

Perhaps bicycles make me a bit devious.

Nevertheless, I planted the seed. “Look at this blog post,” I said, pointing her to LovelyBicycle’s excellent essay on buying vintage vs new. “Don’t you want something timeless, and has already lasted a long time?” Next came beautiful pictures of loved bicycles, with stylish accessories and matching saddle & grips. How could any chic lady resist? It wasn’t just mischievous ME convincing her; surely the bicycles contain a siren song all on their own.

We spent a week browsing craigslist daily for the perfect bicycle. What color? what size? what type? Here in Southern California many of the electroforged Schwinn Varsity and Surburban bicycles float around. They’re fun, with bright colors and a retro flair. But surely... surely, “wouldn’t a stately Lady’s Sports fit your style so much better?” The Raleigh bronze green with many tweedy pictures sold her. A wanted posted on Craigslist turned up a beautiful, mostly complete specimen with almost perfect paint. An hour of looking and riding and negotiating later, and I got a new bicycle vicariously!! My envy cannot be hidden, for truly the bicycle is gorgeous and she loves it. She even sent me glamour shots a few days later with her adorable dog.

Now, who to shop for next?